The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, September 17, 2020 1:00 am

Coronavirus roundup

Study: Drug may cut hospitalizations

Associated Press

A drug company says partial results from a study testing an antibody drug give hints that it may help keep mild to moderately ill COVID-19 patients from needing to be hospitalized, a goal no current novel coronavirus medicine has been able to meet.

Eli Lilly announced the results Wednesday in a news release, but they have not been published or reviewed by independent scientists.

The drug missed the study's main goal of reducing the amount of virus that patients had after 11 days, except at the middle of three doses being tested. However, most study participants, even those given a placebo treatment, had cleared the virus by then, so that time point seems too late to judge that potential benefit, the company said.

Other tests suggest the drug was reducing virus sooner, and the results are an encouraging “proof of principle” as this and other studies continue, Lilly said.

Trump disagrees with head of CDC

President Donald Trump says he disagrees with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention telling lawmakers that wearing a mask is guaranteed to protect people more from the coronavirus than a vaccine.

Trump said at a White House news conference that a mask is “not more effective by any means than a vaccine, and I called him about that.”

Trump's comments were the second time he questioned the testimony of the CDC's Robert Redfield on Wednesday. Earlier, he said Redfield was wrong in his estimation of how fast a potential vaccine will be available.

Trump says that “I hope the vaccine is going to be a lot more beneficial than the mask.” He also says that “the mask perhaps helps.”

Ohio bans closing houses of worship

Ohio has enacted a law that bars local or state officials from closing churches or other houses of worship and that bans the changing of election dates.

The legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Mike DeWine was pushed through by Republican lawmakers in reaction to such orders as part of coronavirus containment measures. DeWine had refrained from shutting down religious institutions during the pandemic, but some other governors have restricted religious gatherings.

The new law also takes aim at DeWine's eleventh-hour decision in March to postpone the state's in-person primary because of concerns about the coronavirus. The statute forbids moving elections other than from the “time, place and manner” spelled out in state law.

Colorado students told to quarantine

All students at the University of Colorado's main campus are being told to self-quarantine the next two weeks to stem an alarming rise in coronavirus cases.

Jeffrey J. Zayach, executive director of Boulder County Public Health, urged the measure in a letter sent Tuesday to Boulder campus students, faculty and staff. Zayach warned mandatory restrictions could follow if students do not comply.

University officials reported 13 positive tests the first week of school, 90 the second week and 205 the third week. Most cases involved students who live off-campus.

UN chief: Outbreak 'out of control'

The United Nations chief says the COVID-19 pandemic remains “out of control,” with the world approaching “the grimmest of milestones: 1 million lives lost to the virus.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a news conference Wednesday that the coronavirus “is the No. 1 global security threat in our world today,” posing a crisis that is “unlike any in our lifetimes.”

S. Africa hoping it sees immunity

About 12 million people in South Africa have “probably” been infected with the coronavirus, but that startlingly high number has not caused a similarly high death rate and might indicate a widespread “level of immunity,” the country's health minister says.

More than 20% of South Africa's population of 58 million have had the virus at some point, Dr. Zweli Mkhize estimated this week. He cited studies that found the presence of coronavirus antibodies in blood samples taken from parts of the population.

The findings have prompted the government to launch a national study, he said.

5 million cases passed in India

India's confirmed coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages.

The world's second-most populous country has added more than 1 million cases this month alone and is expected to become the pandemic's worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6  million people have been infected.

India's Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of the nation's nearly 1.4 billion people. Its record daily high of 97,570 cases was reported Friday.


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